The Fifth Season


The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin — the first book of the Broken Earth trilogy, published in 2015 — follows the journey of Essun, mother and “orogene,” an oppressed, racially defined class of powerful earth-benders in Jemisin’s fictitious, supercontinental world, The Stillness. The book begins with a devastating, seismic-apocalyptic event (a “Fifth Season”), thereafter breaking, alongside the earth, into three narrative threads — those of Damaya, a young orogene sent to train and harness her powers in the “Fulcrum,” the imperial capital; Seyenite, an older, fulcrum-trained oregene paired with an older master, Alabaster, on an imperial assignment; and Essun, as she chases her lost child, and as the world crumbles around her. Although the book, as part of a trilogy, ends before the story does, by the closing chapters, the three threads converge upon Essun, and we learn that The Fifth Season, with the return of Alabaster, is not the random, natural event earlier chapters suggest, but rather an effort to bring justice to a horrifically unjust world.



Caleb Owens 2020

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